A sign maker’s paints made brilliant, saturated statements
so long ago for Thorson’s Auto (Warren took his cut too).
Were the rabid passersby still passing, set on possessing
that red ’55 Chevy en route through America, this faded
barn wall, the loss of many neighbors, the late recession
would drive home recognition to seize every prairie day.
Warren’s barn shakes in wind, sometimes parts collapse
that wood knots, wood rings, thought beautiful, liquefy
their woodiness, soaking dirt like a black witches’ brew.
The sheriff threatens a citation for distraction, suspects
crashes awaiting in the wind’s latest rant; that youthful
drivers risk hard labor caught loitering on Warren’s road;
that a red ’55 Chevy hovers above with malignant curse.
Survivors believe that Thorson’s son salvaged a red ’55
display model, to “peel rubber” far down US 40 when
Thorson passed. Buried at Mount Olive, he was lain
to rest in his favored gabardine and sturdy gray twill.
Financial failures do happen here, in spite of promise of
success on the land. All buck bad odds to “bet the farm.”
Keith Moul publishes both poems and photos widely. These poems follow the voices of pioneers over wide plains of the U.S. Keith has lived among these voices, owes them fealty because people survive the plains under the most adverse conditions. Now later in his life, he has come to appreciate the knack to this bravery.